18:23 Apr. 23, 2016
Kremlinologist says Russian President did not think several moves ahead before annexing Crimea
Lilia Shevtsova, a prominent Kremlinology expert and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings Institution, claims Russian President Vladimir Putin shelved the idea of Novorossiya after he had to face sanctions from the West, and fierce resistance from Ukrainians in the east.
Speaking to Ukrainian news outlet Online.ua Shevtsova said that ‘any Russian autocratic leader would not tolerate Ukraine's breakout':
"For the Kremlin Ukraine's ‘breakoff' equaled the amputation of a key element of Russian statehood. The Kremlin hoped that the West would ‘swallow' the annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression in Donbas," the political expert said.
"I think, if Putin knew what would happen next, he would not go beyond ‘Crimea is ours!'. I mean western sanctions and resistance of Ukrainians, which made him bury the idea of Novorossiya," Shevtsova added.
Novorossiya, the historical term, meaning "New Russia," was first used by Putin in April 2014 and was subsequently picked up by insurgents in Ukraine's east to define their effort to spread their anti-Kyiv movement across the country's southeast. It is the same large region north of the Black Sea that became known as Novorossiya after Russia conquered it during 18th-century wars with Turkey, and that became part of Ukraine after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
Russian propagandists and Putin himself used the term to justify their claim that it was the Kremlin's duty to protect the interests of ethnic Russians there.